tv This Week in Northern California PBS November 6, 2010 12:30am-1:00am PST
closed captioning of this program is made possible by the fireman's fund foundation. >> belva: the bart police officer who shot and killed oscar grant on a station platform is given the lightest sentence possible. with time served he could be released in seven months. republicans take control of the house of representatives. nancy pelosi will step down as speaker and run for minority leader. and voters rejected suspending the state's global warming law and eliminated the 2/3 majority needed to pass a budget. however, it will take a supermajority to enact fee hikes. and local races and measures reflect the anxiety that voters have about the economy. and hundreds of thousands of
adoring fans celebrated the giants' historic world series championship and the team of characters that won it for san francisco. characters that won it for san francisco. those stories coming up next. captioning by vitac, underwritten by fireman's fund ♪ ♪ >> belva: good evening, and welcome to "this week in northern california." i'm belva davis. and joining me tonight on our news panel are rachel gordon, city hall reporter for the "san francisco chronicle." scott shafer, host of "the california report" on kqed public radio.
carla marinucci, political reporter for the "chronicle." and bob egelko, legal reporter for the "chronicle," who will be joined by josh richman of the "oakland tribune" by phone from oakland in just a moment. a story that bay area residents have been watching closely for almost two years is the trial of johannes mehserle, the bart officer who shot and killed unarmed passenger oscar grant on a station platform in oakland. today the judge in the case sentenced mehserle to two years, including time served. josh richman, you are in oakland right now, where there is a demonstration. what is the reaction out there? >> well, there are a lot of angry people out here, belva. we have several hours of very peaceful, heartfelt demonstration down in frank ogawa plaza near city hall. but that ended around 6:00, and not too long after that a big column of protesters took over the intersection at 14th and broadway, then headed down 14th and wended their way out, around lake merit, and i'm now stuck
with about 100 of them, between two police skirmish lines on 6th avenue between east 17th and east 18th. basically, everyone's been contained here, and we're sort of waiting to see what's going to happen next. >> belva: what was the purpose of heading for that area? was there a destination or a -- >> i'm not sure. there was some rumor that maybe they were readed for the fruitvale bart station, which was the scene of the shooting. but the police very effectively sort of shunted them down 10th street, shut them off down there near laney college, pushed us over by the lake and we sort of wended our way into this east lake residential neighborhood. i heard a rumor, not confirmed, that a police officer had a brick thrown at him at east 18th and 6th and that resulted in them deciding to shut this down here and now. so we're now stuck on this block. >> josh, this is carla. what is the mood there? the family of oscar grant calling for no justice, no peace. i mean, are we seeing that kind of an angry mood? does it look like it's going to
get worse tonight? >> yeah. it's hard to tell. it almost seems like the police are containing people here. i haven't seen them making any arres arrests, though. it almost seems like they're going to let people sort of -- sort of vent themselves out here, although i do see that the police line has moved progressively further up the block as we've been talking. so maybe i'm wrong about that. >> josh, this is scott shafer. does it seem like it's mostly oakland pd, or is there indication of mutual aid and chp? >> there was a lot of mutual aid downtown earlier. this looks mostly like opd, what i can see from here. there were -- i saw sunnyvale, santa clara sheriffs, all over the bay area. >> are bart stations operating tonight normally? >> that i don't know, belva. i've sort of been following things on the street here. so i don't know. my impression is that most of what happened has moved here and that downtown is probably clear at this point.
so as far as i know, downtown is clear. there are a lot of journalists in here with me, though. i'd say it's probably a ratio of about one journalist every three activists or so. >> where you are right now, is it mainly residential? are there commercial businesses there? we've heard that over the last day or two the businesses were getting ready, boarding up their shops, ready to close earlier today. is that happening? or if it's residential, what are the people -- >> this is a residential area. i saw a little bit of property damage on the way over here. a couple of broken car windshields. we saw one a.p. transit bus with a couple of windows broken out. one or two storefront windows broken, but nothing on the scale of what we've seen when the verdict was announced back in july. >> belva: okay, josh. stay safe. check back in with us if you can. >> f . >> thank you. >> belva: well, bob egelko, let's go back to the trial -- rather the sentencing today in los angeles and the judge's words coming from the bench today about the term that would be handed down.
>> well, judge perry, judge robert perry, who heard this case and sentenced johannes mehserle today, said basically he agreed with the jury verdict, that this was an accidental shooting, a tragic accident by a bart policeman who had defective training, that oscar grant, the victim, was resisting, which the defense said not so much as to overturn the conviction, which is what the defense asked for -- in fact, they're going to appeal -- but enough to get, number one, the low sentence, two through four years on involuntary manslaughter, they gave him the low end. number two, he threw out the jury's finding of intentional use of a gun. now, the jury found that there was intentional gun use. on the other hand, they found involuntary manslaughter. the prosecution tried to find a way to reconcile those two. it's theoretically possible. the judge said there's no evidence to support the gun charge. which would have added a minimum
of three years to the term and would have required mehserle to serve more than four years in prison. the judge said no reasonable juror could have found that mehserle deliberately fired that gun. so they're pretty strong words, and they -- it's appealable. what the judge said can be appealed by the prosecution. but with those findings the likelihood that some higher court is going to upset that and reinstate this gun charge is pretty minimal. so as you said, assuming that this isn't overturned, he'll be out in seven months. he can apply for bail pending appeal right now. >> the judge said that one reason that the jury gave this enhanced sentence possibility because of the gun was due in part to his jury instructions? >> that's right. >> and that he apologized, didn't he, for sort of confusing the jury? >> yes. the judge did give confusing jury instructions, as he himself admitted. at one point he said you need intentional gun use, which is what the law requires, but at another point he said all you need is personal gun use. and that seems to be what the
jury found on the verdict form. the judge said there's no evidence of intent. so there goes the -- there goes the finding of gun use. the family of oscar grant, of course, was asking for the maximum sentence, 14 years maximum on involuntary manslaughter, maximum on guns. they were pretty upset in court. one of the relatives left when court was all over. but the judge made these findings that are pretty pro defense. and i just want to add. i've said it before, i'll say it again. i wish we had a better way to personally evaluate. i wish this trial had been on television so that the people in oakland and the female in the bay area who most cared about it could have watched it. as it is, we have to depend on secondhand accounts. the press accounts are good and reliable, but it's not the same as watching and making a judgment for yourself. >> belva: lots of big news today. lots of big news all week, in fact. but we've had really a big
political week and then today a big political story concerning one of our very own here from san francisco. >> that's right. i mean, house speaker nancy pelosi. that was the buzz all week when the power of the house turned over to the republicans on tuesday. they won as many as 65 seats. we knew she was out as house speaker. we didn't know what she was going to do today. she announced she's running for minority leader. historic move. and i have to say a move that i talked to a lot of california democrats today, they just cheered this move by nancy pelosi. on one hand. democrats in other parts of the country said look, she's been a target of the republicans, she's been a whipping girl, so to speak, of the republicans, and yet democrats here said this is the woman who raised $65 million for the democrats, she was responsible for flipping 55 republican seats in the last four years, and they think she's most responsible for enhancing and advancing obama's agenda. so california democrats want her
back -- >> let's talk about obama for a moment because he came out after the election, was almost apologetic. he almost was ready to go back on the reforms, if you can call them reforms from the democrats, on the initiatives that he advanced. and nancy pelosi -- it seems like he was ready to retreat and compromise and go on health care, let's reword it and see what we can come up with. and nancy pelosi came out strong saying i'm going to do what i can to fight to retain what we've won. >> that's right. and i think this sort of goes into the other part of the election story, which is that huge red wave that swept across the country stopped at the california border when you look at the election results. whether it's governor jerry brown, senator barbara boxer, and all the way down the ticket. as much as the republican leadership, john boehner, was out there saying the american people have spoken, well, california is 1 out of 8 votes in this country, and california spoke in its own way. all the statewide offices from lieutenant governor gavin newsom to it looks like attorney
general kamala harris. there were some shockers there all the way down. and i this all had to do with the mood of the california voter, much different from the rest of the country. our unemployment is big here, but environment, immigration, social issues matter to people. >> it's so interesting that there really wasn't, other than steve cooley, who may or may not win for attorney general, no real significant candidates from southern california. i mean, they were all -- the winners and almost all the candidates on both sides are from the bay area sxm from san francisco. >> that's absolutely right. and we talked about jerry brown, who had his first press conferences this week, and really took a very centrist approach, saying we're going to get in there, we're going to fix this budget, the democrats may not like it, they're going to be sitting on some hard benches, and we're going to be making some hard cuts. that i think is very, very significant going forward. and you know, in the u.s. senate race a hard-fought race. but meg whitman, you know, 13 points behind jerry brown in the end after outspending him almost
7-1. $47 a vote she spent. >> i didn't get my check. >> for naught. i mean, so this really showed here in california the mood is much, much different. and i think pelosi and the democrats -- >> belva: so what are the democrats doing right here from their point of view that no other group across the country is doing? >> jerry brown said it. some of it's luck in these things, but a lot of it is this democratic advantage. 2.3 million votes. the latinos went for democrats big-time, jerry brown, more than 2-1. women, independent voters. they won those over. and it was on those issues of environment. i know you're going to talk about prop 23, scott. i mean, environment, immigration. i think in many ways the obama agenda, as much as it's vilified in the rest of the country, we still know president obama came out here. that enthusiasm gap as they talked about, the democrats having, just did not exist here. democrats went out to vote. >> can i ask you about the other -- the losing candidates, fiorina and meg whitman.
have we seen the last of them? are they going to kind of roll off into the sunset -- >> meg whitman, i think we have seen the last of her. that was a huge defeat of the kind of money that we've never seen in california politics. and as a candidate she was really criticized as being just too scripted and robotic, i think. the character issue just never came across with her. fiorina, a different story, i think. she did connect with voters. too conservative, it looked like, up against boxer. but definitely had a talent for politics. and i wouldn't be surprised if she comes back. >> belva: the democrats won all these offices, but these are tough times. some of the measures that we're going to talk to scott about in just a moment in terms of the proposition, are going to make it difficult to govern. >> absolutely right. and jerry brown talked about that. right now the democrats own it, own the budget problems in california with the governor and all the statewide offices and both houses of legislature.
so he seems very much aware that they've got problems, and some of these proposition that's scott is going to talk about really tie their hands on fiscal matters. >> why didn't he say any of this stuff during the campaign? how come we get sprung on it now? there are reasons that jerry brown won. maybe he was strategically clever and all that stuff. i guess i feel like as a voter i didn't get told any of this stuff while the campaign was going on. >> i don't think any of the candidates, i don't think either of them really provided the details. now comes the -- you know, now it comes. >> voters don't really reward a lot of detail during a campaign. >> belva: so the voters spoke, and they gave a mixed message through these propositions. scott, tell us a bit about them. >> well, it was a mixed message. the big sort of high-profile initiative, prop 19, went down. and i think -- you know, there's sort of in california a kind of conservative strain sometimes that goes through the state. we saw that with prop 8 and gay marriage. but looking down the ballot a little bit, there was a lot of concern about money. people didn't want to pay an $18 fee on their cars to fund state
parks. they didn't want to -- they wanted to protect local property taxes and fuel taxes from sacramento grabbing the money. they want that money to stay in their communities. they're tired of paying fees. they supported prop 26 by a wide margin. that's going to make it really hard not just for state governments but local governments to tack on fees for a lot of things. not everything but a lot of things. and then also -- and these are really low profile. but props 20 and 27, which went to the -- who's going to draw the lines of congressional districts? there was one side that said hey, let's take it away from the citizens commission and there was another side that said no, let's expand the citizens commission. and they won big-time. people said no, we don't want to give it bax to the politicians, we want to keep it with the citizens, and in fact we want to give them the congressional districts as well. so there was a lot of suspicion, i think, about sacramento, a lot of concern about personal finances. prop 25 will make it easier to pass a budget, but with prop 26 it's questionable how are they going to raise the money to --
>> belva: the fees, does that apply to local government? >> yes. >> belva: that applies to everyone? >> it does. it does. now, there are some exceptions for some regulatory fees where you can, you know, make a clear nexus between the fee and the regulation. but there are a lot of things, i mean, you think about -- >> jerry brown said that may take a billion dollars right there out of -- >> it will kill local governments because as their budgets have been hemorrhaging they're looking for anything to -- walking down the sidewalk -- cigarette butts, chewing gum. >> and the league of cities was leading the charge against that. but what happened was, too, with money in these campaigns the backers of prop 23, the rollback of the air pollution law, they saw that was going down, and toward the last few weeks they shifted a lot of their campaign money to yes on 26. chevron, the american beverage association. and i think it paid off. >> let me ask you about the simple majority vote to pass the bijt. a are they going to regret asking for that at the end? the democrats have been stymied in the budget stuff, but now they're going to have to pass a budget, and it's not going to be
popular. >> it's not going to be popular. yeah, and the republicans can just sit back and say you guys decide what you want to cut because you can't raise revenue. so it remains to be seen. jerry brown is a wily politician, and i wouldn't be surprised if he does try to go in a more bipartisan fashion and include some of the republicans. i mean, i think everything's on the table. and you know, jerry brown, the one promise he made was no new taxes without a vote of the people. >> what does that mean? >> what does that mean? >> i really have a question about that. no new taxes without a vote of the people. yeah, that's pretty much the law. but what new taxes is he interested in? of course he hasn't told us. income tax? >> he did say this week that the parks measure is pretty clear that people don't want any new taxes. so there's been talk about him going to the ballot next year on this. it doesn't sound like he -- >> and the problem with that is it's a special election, low turnout, more conservative, anti-tax. >> prop 19, though, so much nationally was made of this
and -- >> yeah. i think a lot of people feel, first of all, that marijuana's essentially legal in california already. the governor a couple weeks ago signed a bill making possession of small amounts a misdemeanor. you know, if you want a medical marijuana card i don't think it's that hard to get one. and then in the final week of the campaign the attorney general, the u.s. attorney general eric holder said hey, if this thing passes we're going to come down on california. and i think that gave a lot of people pause about supporting this. and then i think a lot of parents were probably concerned about their kids, you know, having too easy access to marijuana. >> what about the idea of the cash-strapped governments get a chance to make some money off marijuana sales? >> well, they can still do that with medical marijuana. and oakland is going ahead with that. and even the board of equalization is going ahead with that to a certain extent. >> if it hadn't been for the medical aspect, i don't think the state ever would have passed medical -- it's easy to sympathize with the patients, as well people might, but when it's just, as it's put, recreational use, and i don't know why that phrase caught on, you could just
as easily say personal, we're back to voting cops against hippies, and you know who wins in that election. >> belva: you mentioned oakland a few minutes ago and we're going to go to oakland now. oakland was one of the first cities to decide they're going it tax it if it's possible. but oakland is in search of a mayor now. we're still days out. >> a little bit of surprising news. don't forget on election night it looked like donata, the long-time state lawmaker, was going to be the next mayor of oakland. he was ahead by 11 percentage points. but on friday they did the first round of ranked choice voting, first time used in oakland, now it's councilwoman jean quan ahead. very slim. still a lot of ballots to count, but it's going her way. and what they're saying is third-place candidate rebecca kaplan, that her votes could be eliminated, her votes, the second choice are going toward quan. so might be a big upset in oakland. >> a lot of voters don't understand the ranked choice voting, can't figure it out. you're right. you had perata ahead by 11
points, you said. he got the most votes. >> right. some people say just don't overthink ranked choice voting, you just vote your first, second, and third choice preference and let the machines do the rest. >> belva: why bother to vote? >> that was the strategy of jean quan. that she and kaplan, you know, may have been running separately, but the anyone but don campaign, and it seems quite possibly to have paid off. >> yeah, it's going to be interesting to see because in some ways you have the kind of very well-known politicians first with jerry brown as mayor and then ron dellums as mayor and then perata the big names, and then maybe, maybe oakland voters went we kind of want to get back to the very basics and let's have some kind of -- just some kind of pothole politics now, not the big players. >> belva: this is an idea we first saw in action in san francisco, and we're still waiting on san francisco. >> right. there are four contested races for supervisor in san francisco, 11 members board of supervisors. i'll just congratulate carmen
chu of district 4 who ran uncontested, so we know she won. but they did a preliminary run of the ranked choice ballots in san francisco with these races, and a couple of -- you know, a couple of caveats. a big one is it's not over till it's over. the elections chief was very clear, this might just give you a glimpse of who might win. but it looks like that jane kim, who's the president of the board of education, it looks like she might win in district 6. she's been ahead since election night. she did well in the preliminary count of ranked choice. scott weiner, deputy city attorney of san francisco, has been big in democratic party politics. looks like he won in district 8, which is the castro district. still up in the air in district 10, the southeast part of the city, bayview, hunter's point. 21 candidates on that. they're still very close, even with the ranked choice votes going. malia cohen is now kind of inching ahead if you do that. and the other one, in district 2, it looks like mark ferrell, investment banker, political newcomer. looks like he has a chance to
beat janet riley who had all the big name endorsements. >> scott weiner's not conservative, but he was the most conservative of that bunch. and mark ferrell certainly more conservative than janet riley. are we going to see a shift -- >> i don't think a big shift. but we have to talk about a little bit if we have some time wh whatgavin newsom's election means for lieutenant governor. the board of supervisors is going to pick his replacement for the next year until his term expires. >> will it be this current board? >> it looks like it will be this current board. there are still some political and legal jockeying of who will be. but the scramble is definitely on. who's going to get that seat. some people want just a placeholder. they're talking about the head of the san francisco public utilities commissioner, former city controller ed harrington, maybe he could be a place holder. others are going this is a chance to get a jumpstart in the mayor's race for 2011, so we're looking at board of supervisors president david chu, mark leno the state senator, supervisor david compos. that's going to be the fun political contest for the next
couple of weeks if not months. >> belva: and you have to get the two measures we know about at least, sit lie. >> it will ban people from sitting or lying on the sidewalk between 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. that passed pretty strong majority in san francisco. homeless advocates and others are saying this is just an unfair target against homeless folks. and the law and order people said enough is enough, we want something to happen, especially like around haight street. the other one was proposition b, pension reform, put on the ballot by public defender jeff adachi. that went down big. that was a big, big measure for organized labor, wanted to see it defeated. it shows that san francisco's still a pro-labor town. and when you look at pension reform measures across the state, they won. bakersfield, menlo park, san jose, mayor chuck reed there really kind of staked his political capital on that one. so san francisco again kind of went against the tide. >> although muni drivers with prop g, they did clip their wings a little bit. >> yeah, i think clipped their wings a lot. 64% of the voters said we no
longer want to guarantee muni operators are going to be the second highest-paid transit operators in the nation. now they have to negotiate pay. >> belva: tell me again about -- well, whatever the political plays are around gavin newsom's replacement and who might be mayor. does he have anything to say about when he'll be sworn in as to which board gets to vote for his place holder? >> lawyers are looking at that. but right now it's looking like the current board of supervisors will have the opportunity, they'll have the opportunity to choose his successor. the question is are they going to be willing to give it up and give it to the new board members who are coming in? i've heard one supervisor say we're the ones who know best how to govern san francisco, we're seasoned, we've been here, why would they give it up, why would the progressive majority on the board of supervisors now give up that opportunity to at least try to put a liberal mayor in the office? >> belva: we're out of time. are progressives going to be the leading political bloc in this -- >> i think that they will still hold the majority. and we have to always say this. a progressive in san francisco, even the moderates in san
francisco, are still considered on the left in the rest of the nation. >> belva: okay. lots of political news. and really thanks to all of you for being with us tonight. i think we learned a lot. and finally tonight, we want to take a minute to reveal -- to revel in the memories of the san francisco giants. world series champions in celebration. well, we had it. hundreds of thousands of fans turned out to thank this ragtag group of champions for a thrilling season with a perfect ending in the midst of a divisive election, they united us and lifted our spirits. each game featured a new hero, and each player had his moment to shine. they brought home a victory that's been a long time coming, and they established traditions that will be passed down throughout the generations. perhaps most important, they showed grace and humility in their moment of glory. they shared their victory with us, and they made us all very